Penang has to be one of my favourite destinations in South East Asia, and I believe that this tropical island is totally underrated and deserves more recognition. Located off the west coast of Malaysia, at the crossroads of Eastern and Western trade routes, the island of Penang is a melting pot of cultures with Malay, Chinese, Indian and British influence.
This mix of cultures has resulted in the most unique heritage, food and architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the city of George Town. Traditional temples, homes, hotels and shophouses mingle with modern buildings, and you can feel like you’re in India one moment, cross the road and you feel like you have travelled to China.
In this post, I am taking a stroll through the streets of George Town as an alternative Penang city tour, and celebrating the quirkiness and diversity of this multiculturalism and how it is reflected on the local architecture.
Penang Chinese Shophouses
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Penang is also known for its street food
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But it’s not just the cute little shophouses of George Town that show the island’s multiculturalism. This diversity means that there are places of worship that serve the different faiths that harmoniously live in the island.
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Penang Street Art
Penang is also well known for its street art. The last few years have seen a resurgence that was kicked off in 2012 by the municipal council, who commissioned Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic to bring a new lease of life to the streets of George Town. This art plays with objects and architectural features, so here are couple more doors and windows that have been enhanced by street artists.
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Taking a ride with 'Boy on a bike' by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic. George Town in Penang, #Malaysia is famous for both its street art and its street food, and it has become an obligatory stop on the South East Asia backpacker trail. It's a charming city and I would highly recommend doing a street art tour here, whether self-guided or with a guide. I did a self-guided one and absolutely loved it! Hotels, hostels and sometimes restaurants will have a map at your disposal with the street art trail clearly marked. Hunting the best pieces was so much fun! #broganinmalaysia 🇲🇾
So tell me: Have you been to Penang? Which style of doors and windows is your favourite?
Let me know in the comments!
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Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.